This article provides a critical portrait of the current state of public health policies and laws governing pandemic influenza prevention and control in Europe. It examines the role of and relationship between national public health policy and national communicable disease legislation as tools for the prevention and control of pandemic influenza, the role of Europe in pandemic disease preparedness, and the concept of harmonization across European states, including an overview of supranational initiatives and powers created to enhance harmonization of national pandemic disease policy. Short case studies epitomize important concerns around harmonization in Europe. The article considers opportunities and impediments to further harmonization. Particular attention is paid to the essential role of law as a tool to underpin and implement preparedness policies and to protect individual rights against unjustified state intervention.

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